Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kumite Sessions - Ananya

Team Asha is back full strength at Ananya after almost a months lull. Long weekends and midterm breaks robbed all of us of our great times at Ananya but you can't keep us waiting for long.

This Saturday we had a full throttle Karate sessions, with Sensei Manjula sparing none. All sets were repeated 100 times ! Before the Karate session we started off with for 3K tempo running.

We then had "Kumite" sessions where we learned the aspect of sports Karate where one showcases the ability to sneak through the opponent's defenses rather than actually hurting/hitting him. This was an important aspect that needed to be conveyed to the kids as they can get carried away easily.

Then we had one of our kids, Priya sharing us her experiences in watching "kalaripayattu" show and what it demanded as a form of martial art. Then our Sensei emphasized on how much dexterity one required in performing "kalari".

Some pics in here:

So we are back and updates will follow as usual !
Aregato !

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Team Asha 4k/8k @ Prakriya

Wow ! What a run !

It was a unique event where children from various backgrounds - class, caste, religion etc. participated together with adults from again various backgrounds - teachers, professionals, students etc. Children from Asha supported efforts also participated in the event for free of cost. The event also focused on environmental sensitivity as we reduced the use of plastic/paper to a bare minimum and used environmentally sustainable practices to the fullest extent possible. This helped create awareness for such a need for environnmental sensitivity amongst children as well.

The race begins

100+ children and 100+ adults - in all about 220 runners where participated at the run on Saturday, October 24th. Lots of children and staff from Prakriya lined the the entire race route cheering vociferously for all the runners!

Go Team Asha, Go !

There were two options - 4km and 8km. Many children did the 8km run. The run was on a scenic route with a lot of trees in sections and in some sections running along paddy fields. The 2K out and back route had a turn around in a small village called Gattahalli. The village folks also cheered and supported us. All the water stops and cheering stations were managed and organized by the children of Prakriya school. It was an electric atmosphere with the children cheering all their teachers, parents and every runner who came along the route! We saw them every 500m in the course. It was heart warming to see the children cheer each other forgetting all the differences between them once outside of this setting.

Bravo !

We would like to thank for all the magnanimous support from the community for this event. We got nice high quality T-shirts at a very nominal price, thanks to Satya Dyeings. Printo supported us with Bibs, Flyers etc. Thanks to Children and Staff of Prakriya for hosting a wonderful event and providing tasty breakfast for everyone!

There are still lots of T-shirts left from the event. You could buy it for your friends and family at just Rs. 150 per shirt and support the event.

Team Asha, Bangalore

Results from the event are available now available : Download/View results!

Here are some pics from one of the cameras:

Here are more pictures from another camera: Team Asha run photos

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Team Asha Vs Ananya - Cricket match.

(Contributed by Balaji, Asha volunteer, Team Asha runner)

A fully fired Team Ananya was ready and roaring to go. Team Asha - Well had a team but only 5 people - too small to make it up a cricket team. Santhosh went out to scout a team like Aamir Khan in the Lagaan. He invited George, a teacher at Ananya and Valentina, a volunteer with Ananya to be part of the team Asha. Valentina exclaimed 'I don't know how to play'. Santhosh replied that it serves well to be part of Asha Cricket team! Such was our composition that included the likes of Vinod, Sriram, Balaji, Srinivas and Santhosh! Eventually, we were granted permission by Shashi to sign a few players from Ananya. We got George, Asha (thanks to her name!), Aruna, ........ . The team was ready and all set to battle out with Ananya. As we assembled the team, a bloodless coup saw Vinod self-anointing himself as captain as he walked out with Suresh for the toss. Nevertheless, Team Asha saw their first success of the day by winning the toss and the victory was celebrated with glee. Opting to bat first, the primary target was to see through 15 overs of the game. Balaji and Sunder were sent out to open the innings amidst the fanfare and cheering. Balaji was set to face the fiery bowling of Suresh. After facing the first ball, he looked at the Pavilion and complained for bowling fast only to be reminded that it is a match and he has to face it!

More photos here- Ananya_cricket_game

The first two overs saw some sluggish batting from Balaji and quick loss of the first wicket. Vinod joined Balaji at the crease and both stayed till the end of the fifth over surviving on a ball to ball to basis. At the end of fifth over, Balaji announced his retirement from the innings, much to the delight of batting team and even the bowling team, who by now had almost gone to sleep, watching one of the most boring batting performance since Navjot Singh Sidhu's 201 against West Indies in 1997! The scoreboard was 30 for the loss of 1 wicket with Balaji contributing just 5 runs after staying for 5 overs. He was replaced by Srinivas at the crease who decided to add some sparkle to the game. He started his innings with a six followed by two fours and game was back in action. Team Asha, who until then was seen praying to Rain Gods to save them, started seeing some hope in the game. Shashi was getting furious seeing their team let so many runs. Instead of being calm and composed cricket team manager, she now resembled a football team manager with her instructions from the pavilion. Vinod retired after the 7th over making way for George. He took to the field amidst intense pressure with Shashi asking him to come back to the pavilion at the earliest. There seems to be no dearth of healthy sledging before and during the game. One of the kids asked Santhosh if he had a proper sleep the previous night! George and Srinivas played a brilliant innings together and the score crossed the three digit mark. The ASHA team finished, what looked impressive then, at a total of 107 in 15 overs.

More photos here- Ananya_cricket_game

Ananya team came out to bat with Suresh and ....... opening the innings. The bowling attack of Santhosh and Srinivas was soon found to be posing no challenge to the Ananya team. With the crowd cheering loudly 'Ya Ya Ananya,' the batsmen lashed out the poor bowling attack into pieces. The fielders at the boundary line had a tough time going out and collecting the balls and getting it back to bowler. Their fifty appeared too soon after just 3 overs! Vinod suddenly remembered that he is the captain and decided to get into action. He rolled up his sleeves, (even though he wore only a half-sleeve shirt)!, picked up the ball and decided to bowl. That over did not do much to change the course of the game. However, the next over by George was more fruitful. He bowled an economical spell and picked up a wicket in the last ball of the over. This was followed by another wicket in the first ball of the next over. The batsmen was caught behind by George off the first ball by Balaji. A strange sense of optimism was found in the Team Asha's camp only to be dampened by the announcement '20 runs more'. Yeah, too little too late! The over proved to be productive with Balaji taking another wicket - another caught behind by George. Suresh stood firm on the other end taking his team past the target with 7 overs to spare! Sriram did not take the field as he stayed back to do the scoring. Encouraged by the success, the boys challenged the team for another encounter - this time, it was for 10 overs.

More photos here- Ananya_cricket_game

Team Asha again took to bat with Sriram and George opening the innings. Sriram, who got out in the previous match without even touching the ball, decide to show his mettle. They put up an impressive total in the first few overs. George got out to make way for Srinivas who could not produce the fireworks that he produced in the first match. Vinod joined Sriram and they put on an impressive 55 runs in 4 overs. Some tight bowling by Suresh refrained them from soaring high. Sriram made way for Santhosh who carried on the good work on the field. The batting by Team Asha vastly improved and they piled up runs. The boys from Ananya were getting tired and they could not keep up the same standards of performance they demonstrated in the first match. Team ASHA finished the 10 overs with an impressive 122 runs.

More photos here- Ananya_cricket_game

Team Asha opened their bowling with Sriram. Sriram started with a bang picking up couple of wickets in the first over. Joining him was George who bowled impressively conceding few runs. Sharad held the fort on one end for Ananya and he was soon joined by Suresh. Both added significant amount of runs and the target looked achievable. Team ASHA tactically decided to bowl slower deliveries . The bowling was getting slower and slower testing the patience of the Ananya batsmen. Balaji’s bowling was more sedate than his batting though it only conceded a few runs. After a few economical overs by George and Balaji, the target was now getting difficult. Ananya’s fans were seen leaving the venue and this acted as an additional pressure on the boys. Suresh was run out and this turned the game towards Team Asha. The target was now 42 runs from 18 balls. The next over from Balaji costed ASHA few more runs and the target got reduced to 26 runs from 12 balls. Few more run outs in the next over and target for the last over was 16 runs. Team Ananya eventually lost to Team Asha by 8 runs.

Team ASHA finally made some ground for their humiliating defeat in the first match with a consolation win in the second.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Team Asha rocks Kaveri Trails!!

Hi Folks,

Though this mail comes in a bit late, it does not diminish the celebration and enthusiasm that was evident at the Kaveri trail races!! On Sep 13th, Sunday many folks from Team Asha participated in the Kaveri trail races! More than 20 runners were at Srirangapattinam fighting out the hot and humid conditions. This surely was not an ideal day for running. But, our team did great even against such odds! I have had the privilege of observing most of our runners train and reach many of their goals. So, I guess its my responsibility to give a brief account, which in my language is a long email :) - So, here goes!

More photos here -Kaveri marathon

We all set out in the Team Asha bus on Saturday, 12th afternoon. Manjula, Balaji and Vinodh ensured that we had a great time with a lot of laughs all along! We reached Mysore for dinner and after a run through about the plan, we went to sleep. The next day we all set out in two trips - Half marathoners and 10K runners! All our runners put on an inspirational performance and here is a personal account for each of them!

Photos from the trip are here.

Firstly, the thulir kids - Vinoo, Ezhumalai and Sakthivel put on a stupendous performance. Even with the minimal training this season, all three of them did a great job at the run! Vinoo did a super fast half at 1hr 54 mins and Ezhumalai followed at 2hr 2mins. I tried hard to hold them back on the run and in the end they just bolted out :) Sakthivel, coming to Bangalore for the very first time in his life did his first 10.5K in about an hour! Congrats to the thulir kids and for being an inspiration for all of us.

Ajay Gupta is a Team Asha veteran and has just moved to India from Chicago. He has done many long races and this 10K was part of his training for the Bangalore Ultra 25K. He had a smiling face in all the heat and humidity and that itself tells a lot about how he enjoyed the run :) - Welcome to Team asha Ajay!

Anjana Deepak leads many lives - managed at yahoo, super mom to avani, coach with Runner's High and Team Asha runner! She was her usual strong self in completeing a well run 21km at Kaveri. She prepares for her first Ultra marathon (50K) at Bangalore Ultra on Nov 15th!

Anita Bora is well known in the running circles of Bangalore though not many of the Team Asha folks know her. She is also an avid cyclist and I am sure she is going to go for the record of most funds raised by a Team Asha runner - just a hunch from her popularity levels :) - She had a strong half marathon at Kaveri Trails as well!

Dhanesh Padmanabhan joined us for the Sita School trip and is already very much into Team Asha! He did a half marathon at Kaveri and plans to run the Bangalore Ultra for Team Asha as well!!

Gautham Sadashiva is one of the Runner's High coaches with a lot of races on his colorful running resume! Like with his running, he has been organized in his fundraising as well and has already reached more than halfway in fund raising target! He will be targeting a really long run at the Bangalore Ultra as well!

Kanishka is a Team Asha veteran and long time long distance runner! He had a tough race at Kaveri due to the extreme heat. The training didn't go as well as he wanted as he was busy with many efforts he was involved with in the weekends. Nevertheless, he successfully finished his half marathon and he has already gone way past his fundraising target!!

Kavitha Kanaparthi did her first 10K only a few months back and now she is already done quite a few half marathons, super long treks and really long cycling trips! She is the new endurance athlete in town! Though she took a fall, she successfully completed the Kaveri half marathon and looks forward for the 25K at Bangalore Ultra.

Mathew is an avid runner with bubbling enthusiasm and amazing photography skills! This was his fourth race in just a few months and he has become an expert 10K distance runner already! He did amazingly well in the fundraising front as well and has already reached his target!

Pramod is a long time asha volunteer and veteran team asha runner. Last year, a half marathon went out of reach due to work. But, this time he did it in style! Pramod runs with the Ananaya kids regularly and also volunteers his time teaching there.

Preeti Ashok is the world famous physio in Bangalore :) - Everyone knows who is the physio who understands runners well! In addition to her sterling contribution as an educational resource person at various asha supported efforts, being an asha volunteer, heading the injury prevention and strengthening aspects of Runner's High - she has now finished her first 10K and is going for a 25K!!

Rajeev Muralidhar is another Team Asha veteran and long time long distance runner! He carried on training even through his trips to the US and had a strong finish at the Kaveri Trails! He has already surpassed his fundraising target and is not stopping anytime soon!

Ranjita Bhagwan was introduced to running recently and did her first 10K run only a few months back. She successfully finished her first half marathon at Kaveri Trails! It was an amazing effort and she has already started her fundraising as well!

Rohit Chaudhri is another Team Asha veteran who has returned from Seattle and joined Team Asha in Bangalore recently. He is targetting the Bangalore Ultra and did about 15km at Kaveri as part of his training. Welcome to Team Asha Rohit!

S Balaji is avid long distance runner, long distance cyclist (really long distance - like a tour of south india :) ), super coach, football coach, mentor and the list goes on! Balaji spent considerable amount of Thulir and has been instrumental in the training of the Thulir kids. He came along to Kaveri to support the team and ran with many of us to the finish! Thanks for being there for all of us Balaji!

Santosh M Hulkund is a Team Asha regular and he started running along with us last year. He is now doing comfortable long distances and did a strong half marathon at the Kaveri trails. He was bogged down by many aspects that stopped him from training well. Nevertheless, he put on a great show!

Savitha Muralidhar is a true inspiration to many of the beginners! Only a few months back she was worried if she will be able to complete a 10K, leave alone run all of it! But, on Sunday, 13th she did her first half marathon and is looking forwards to her first 25K at the Bangalore Ultra. She has already crossed her fundraising target by leaps and bounds!

Sindhu Srinivas is the super athlete of Team Asha :) - She came 12th in the women's category - this was a result of an organized effort and consistent training. She has been a super athlete with her fundraising as well! She has already crossed her fundraising target as well!

Srinivas Vooruvakili was quite an inspiration with his training. He followed what the coaches said to the word and put in a very disciplined and organized effort! The results are there to show! He did a time of 2hrs 3mins and was equally organized with his fundraising as well! He has already more than doubled his fundraising target. Great job and go for the 25K Srini!

Vikram Srinivasan missed a good part of training due to injuries and family commitments. But, that did not stop him from completing the half marathon at Kaveri in a strong way. He is continuing training for the Bangalore 25K and has already started his fundraising efforts as well! Great going Vikram!

Vinodh Kumar is a regular Team Asha runner and volunteer at Ananaya. He is also the web master for Asha and Team Asha. Amidst all the work tension he responds in lightning speed to set up all our runner pages and urges them to start! This time he missed a lot of training due to work and other reasons. But, this did not stop him from gritting out the half marathon successfully! He continues to train for the Bangalore Ultra 25K!

Last but not the least, the super lady - Entreprenuer, Endurance cyclist, Runner, Poor jokes coordinator, Karate Black belt, Volunteer at Ananya...Manjula did a marathon at Kaveri trails with an inpiring effort and staying out there for 7+ hours! It was an awesome display of determination and focus!

Thanks to Anu and Krishna of Thulir for supporting the kids on their endeavors and making this possible for all of us!

Thanks to Ananya and Sita School for hosting us for a couple of training runs!

Thanks to Runner's High and everyone who were part of the training and coaching efforts to help our runners cross the finish line at Kaveri trails.

Thanks to all Asha volunteers, friends and family for giving the support and encouragement that we all badly needed! This has been a wonderful experience!

While many of us crossed the finish line in terms of some of our running goals, there still is one more finish line to cross. All this effort, running and crossing the finish line would be worth a lot only when we achieve the goals we all set out for! Asha Bangalore relies heavily on the marathon program for supporting all the wonderful grass roots efforts. Lets gear ourselves up and make sure that this running makes a difference in many other lives as well!!

Go Team Asha!!

(For Team Asha.)

P.S: If I missed mentioning anyone's contribution, I surely didn't intend to and would want to blame it on permanent mental fatigue from running and typing long emails :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Team Asha and Thulir

Thulir is an Education Resource Center for children and young adults at Sittilingi which is a tribal village in Dharmapuri District, Tamil Nadu. It's a Tamil word that means, "tender shoot", also "to sprout". The goal of Thulir is to provide a place where children are in the presence of adults who can motivate them and provide support for learning, and can access basic learning resources that are not available to them in their homes or schools. It is also a place where children can attend supplementary classes or prepare for exams away from crammed and noisy homes, and interact with visiting professionals from various walks of life to get exposure. Young adults are trained to create similar spaces for children in their own villages. As children grow into young adults, they can have access to vocational training courses and network with other such centers. Learn more about their efforts at:

Team Asha and Runner's High have been coaching the children over the last year for various events. They were monitored on a weekly basis from Bangalore. Detailed training schedules, guidance, injury prevention tips etc. were provided on a regular basis. There was a lot of support from the co-ordinators at Thulir - Anu and Krishna as well. Many children have completed marathons, half marathons and 10k runs in various events in Bangalore, Pondichery and Mysore.

This season three children trained for the Kaveri Trail Races. Balaji, an Asha volunteer spent considerable amount of time with the children to guide them through the training. Vinoo and Ezhumalai successfully completed their first half marathon in a good time of 1hr 54mins and 2hrs 02mins respectively! Sakthivel successfully completed his 10K in 1hr 02mins.

Here is a detailed account of Balaji's stay at Thulir with photos.

Here is Balaji's experience coaching the children:

August 3-9
Balaji reached Thulir on August 4th to help the Thulir Kids with their training plan for the KTM '09. After consulting with Anu and Krishna, we decided that Vinoo and Ezhumalai will run the half-marathon. Perumal could not participate because of his commitments in the newly started Basic Technology Course and Senthil was busy preparing for his final year of formal schooling. They warmed for the weekend long runs by doing a easy 5K run on Friday. On Saturday, they started their first long run of 10K. The boys were naturally fit to run the distance and did very well to finish the 10K in about one hour. On Sunday, they went for an easy run of 5K. Shakthivel, one of the students of the BT Course expressed interest in running with us. On Sunday, he appeared to run with us in an unusual attire - A lungi and a pair of ordinary slippers. Balaji was so impressed by his interest and enthusiasm that he allowed him to run about 3K with the group despite his unorthodox appearance.

August 10-16
Balaji had to leave Thulir in the second week to work on the Team Asha 8K run. He went for a trek with them on Monday and was given the glimpse of the boys' endurance and fitness! The students trained themselves for the rest of the week and Shakthivel also joined them.

August 17-23

Balaji joined them again later that week in time for their weekend long runs. They were scheduled to run 18K on Saturday and 8K on Sunday. Balaji, Vinoo and Senthil set out for the run on Saturday. Shakthivel joined them to run for 3K. They ran for 2 hours through the beautiful Bamboo forests. It was one of the longest runs for Vinoo and he enjoyed it thoroughly. On Sunday, it was a larger crowd for the run. Balaji, Senthil, Vinoo, Ezhumalai and Shakthivel started out to run. They were accompanied by two other students - Parameshwaran and Jayabal on bicycle. They did an easy run for about 4K and turned back. In the return run, they improvised by using the 'chain-running' technique. Runners run in a single file with the runner in the start being replaced by the runner in the last at regular intervals. The time interval was a little longer at the early stage and it was later reduced to zero in the last 1K encouraging runners to go faster. It was enjoyed by the boys and the cyclists assisted in co-ordinating the whole effort.

August 24-30
On Tuesday, Vinoo ran 200m splits for 8 laps. He looked strong after the 8 speed laps. Balaji felt that he could run the half-marathon in about 1 hour 45 minutes. Asked if he would be interested in training harder for a half-marathon at Auroville in Feb. 2010 and winning it, Vinoo humbly replied that he is happy just to run and enjoy the feeling without being bothered about the prizes. They went for another easy run that Thursday. The weekend running plan was 14K on Saturday and 7K on Sunday. On Saturday, Balaji, Vinoo and Ezhumalai set out to run the 14K. Shakthivel joined them for about 3K and returned back. By now, we decided to have Shakhivel on board for the KTM and he was to run a 10.5K, which will be his first taste of a running event. Shakthivel was comfortable with the shoes that we could arrange for him. On Sunday, Balaji, Vinoo, Ezhumalai and Shakthivel set out to run the 7K. As usual, they attracted plenty of on-lookers and funny comments. After sometime, a cycle carrying two persons went besides them. The person sitting behind enquired about them and their purpose for running. Balaji replied them in his sarcastic manner and offered invitation for him to run with them. The person commented that Vinoo does not look like a runner. Vinoo and Ezhumalai asked Balaji if he would allow them to go faster and overtake the cyclist. Well aware of their abilities, he agreed for it and asked the boys to embarrass the cyclists! The boys took off and sprinted past the cyclists making them feel ashamed for their comments. As Balaji neared them, he further commented to them that they are better off running with them than cycling. However, on the return when the boys wanted to try a similar stunt, Balaji refused to allow them to do the same as he felt that they would be stretching their muscles too far.

August 31-September 6
Early this week, Balaji left for Chennai and hence could participate in the training with the students. They trained on their own for the week. Balaji returned to Thulir later that week and because of some health complications could not run with them for their Sunday run. They did not run on Satuurday and hence ran a 10K that Sunday. Shakthivel was asked to take it easy and run less. Senthil, Ezhumalai and Vinoo and ran for over one hour. They were paced and guided by Senthil. All the three students looked fit to run the KTM the next week.

September 7 - 13
On Tuesday, Vinoo and Shakthivel went for an easy run of 5K and wound up their training for KTM. They left Thulir on Saturday morning and reached Bangalore in the afternoon. It was the first long distance trip for Shakthivel and was quite excited on reaching Bangalore. He found the bad odour a bit strange and also the huge drainage canal! They left for Mysore in the team ASHA bus from Bangalore and were all set for the KTM the next day.

Team Asha: Tryst with Science at Ananya

Vinod is among the most active volunteers from Team Asha at Ananya. After having a great stint at the AMD sponsored science workshop with a Govt. School he is now going to share some important concepts at Ananya.

Understanding the concept of density and how it is different from weight?

This is what Vinodh broached to the kids and that kept the minds tickling. Slowly he moved on to the concept of what makes things float in water and what makes it sink. I guess next he will introduce Archimedes principle and the Newton's laws of motion.


So what is a lactometer and how does it work. Can we make a simple lactometer without any special gadgets. This concept was linked with density of water and milk and the methods and means by which one can test if the milk supplied to you is adulterated with water or not.

In the coming weeks Vinodh will be introducing to kids such simple science fundas and will show them things practically.

Until then, keep running !

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Team Asha at Sita School

Sita School has been supported by Asha Bangalore for more than a year now. We support the entire running expenses of the school. The school was started in 1975 to try to address the problem of many local children not going to school and the fact that many children dropped out of school. The reasons were varied and included economic factors and lack of flexibility in mainstream schools to accommodate children with special needs. The schools also were not attractive to children and if parents were not motivated to send their children to school the children rapidly left.

The school is structured in a way that children can enter at any level and are encouraged to learn at their own pace without pressure of exams or fear of failure and disapproval. Literacy is only one aspect of education. Learning that fosters solely the growth of the intellect is often fundamentally disconnected with life and therefore, oppressive to children. Sita School tries to create an environment which stimulates the child not just intellectually, but also emotionally, creatively and socially.

From Sita_school_overview_health

About 20 of us - many from Team Asha and other interested volunteers did a car pool at Cubbon park on August 29th, Saturday for a trip to Sita School. Even as we reached, the kids were assembling and getting ready for the run with the team! We spent some time introducing ourselves to the kids and even got on the trees :)

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

We then started on a run/walk for about 3.5kms/7kms. The kids had a lot of fun and it was a very scenic location with beautiful green trees, grasslands, eucalyptus forests, mango groves and so on!

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

After the run, we all had a wonderful breakfast of Uppitu, Bananas and Tea. It was under a big tree with all the children as well. Even as all of us gathered for breakfast, Jane interacted with the runners to give them a background of Sita School.

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

After breakfast, Jane gave us a tour of the school and we discussed the philosophy of the school, the teaching methodologies, integrated learning and goals of the school. We met with a few teachers who showed us a few activities for teaching various concepts related to science and language. We also had a discussion on integrating children with disabilities in the school.

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

Last year, Sita School children designed and printed a lot of calendars for Asha. Asha volunteers sold the calendars to fund raise for Sita School. The funds support vocational training and continued education of children graduating from Sita School. Here is more on it by one of our Asha volunteers, Sanjeev Ranganathan

This year too, children are doing the design and hand printing of Asha calendars. After the run we got a glimpse of the work involved. Its quite rigorous and time consuming with all the elder kids involved. The kids who had passed out and are currently supported by the funds also contributed time and efforts for the calendar.

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

The pictures were all painted by the kids themselves. The kids were involved a lot in the printing process as well.

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

After the runners left in the morning, many of the Asha volunteers helped in the calendar making process along with the kids.

From Sita_school_calendars_teamasha_trip

Overall it was a wonderful day at Sita School and a unique opportunity to learn more about diverse efforts supported by Asha Bangalore.

More Photos are here

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Teachers Day at Ananya

We celebrated Teachers day at Ananya on September 5th. Luckily as it was a weekend most of us were able to make it.

For Team Asha folks the day started as usual with a quick 3KM run with the kids and we soon started to interact with the kids during the cool down session on who the first prime minister of India was, then who was the first president, the second president and at the same time getting to know why Teachers day and Childcare's day are celebrated, the essence behind them. Then we slowly moved into Sensei Manjula's karate session. This time it was much vigorous and kids were really glued to it. We then had a break for breakfast before the day's event started to unfold.

When he became the President of India in 1962, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday, September 5. He replied, "Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teacher's Day." Since then, Teacher's Day has been celebrated in India.

-- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975)

Report card to parents

As Parents kept arriving they all were handed over their child's report card. This was to keep them abreast of how they were performing and doing in general at Ananya.


So all the senior kids who passed out their 10th class exams had their graduation ceremony in our own Ananya style. All of them were handed over those graduation hats.

We also have a big list of kids who are going to appear for their Xth exam next summer and some who are going to take exams this October.

Ananya Alumni

There was a huge presence of former who kids who climbed through the education and life ladder through Ananya. It was wonderful to note how each one of them were settled and making waves in their careers.

Also some of them have partnered together to form their own entrepreneurial ventures.

Everyone attributed to the cordial and friendly teacher-student interaction at Ananya. As each one of the students spoke the teacher and volunteers at Ananya couldn't have been more happy. All the efforts that the team put behind for over decade has clearly borne fruits.

The Unsung Heroes: Teachers

The day was apt to honor all the teachers who were (and are) the core force behind the success of Ananya. All the teachers received huge ovation as they were all presented some nice handmade cards and flower pots as bouquets.

They have been an unflinching force that has stood by Ananya and in making what Ananya is today.

Team Asha Volunteers honored

Apart from other volunteers Team Asha volunteers were also honored. The running and Karate team has been interacting with the kids on a regular basis and we hope to continue this further.

Good job, Team Asha !

Karate Demo
Soon the kids showcased their Karate training to parents and teachers, headed by Sensei Manjula.


Then some of the kids showcased their experience at Ananya and abroad as an ambassador of Ananya through multimedia presentations. The elan and panache they displayed during these presentation sessions were of very high quality and well narrated with all the confidence.

These kids have so much in their kitty and I'm sure we will have a lot to see.

Puppet Show

We then had a puppet show which these kids add innovation and variety every time they do it. They play looks different every time I see it.


Lunch was served to all of us and most of us caught up with each other and had some lengthy chats. The kids also got a well deserved break after a hectic pre-noon.

We could see so many happy faces, from teachers, parents, their kids, volunteers and visitors. You all made this success of Ananya happen and just keep that going.

More pics at:

(More pics are awaited, shall update once we get all of them)

All the best to all of you and good luck. We as Team Asha shall always be there with your endeavors.

We also thank Printo for the certificates.

-- Team Asha

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Independence Day Run @ Ananya

15 August, 2009 was a jam packed day as Team Asha and Runner's High descended at Ananya defying weather and havoc-wrecked roads. Owing to the current A(H1N1) scare (aka Swine Flu) the second edition of the Team Asha 8k Run had to be indefinitely postponed. Though many of us were disappointed but the decision was taken after carefully analyzing medical advise and not to add to the current panic and the fact that kids were the most susceptible of the lot.

Nevertheless, keeping the spirit of Independence day we decided to have a small run at the Ananya campus were runners from Team Asha and Runner's High came together to jam-in a run alongside the Ananya kids.

Bunny, Bunny- Bunny (Come, please come)

We all had an unusual meetup near the Karamelaram railway station road. It was by chance as the 7AM train stood right across the railway crossing and Shashi Rao (Ananya Founder) was also right there. Santhosh decided to get all the runners a quick intro from Shashi (as you can see above).

The Run

Quickly we all began and started by 7.30AM. All the kids and runner's went out in full swing and went to finish their target distances according to their training plan.

People had to do distances of 4K/8K. To add a little adventure we also had to cross railway tracks (manned crossing). As we were running some of us had to head back for other events.

The Karate Demo

Under the aegis of Sensei Manjula the Ananya kids and some Team Asha runners have been training for karate. Our Sensei had put together some moves and techniques to showcase our training in form of a demo.

This was a short 15 minute demo as the runners were introduced to various aspects of Karate and the its true essence.

Chai Pani

We all had some Tea before went in for our next activities. All runners had some time to interact with each other. We were around 20-30 runners in all and it was a very good gathering as well.


Soon after the Karate demo we all headed for a wonderful little English play shown as puppets.

This was about Ananya, the learning center and how it is different from other traditional schools.

Here is the Ananya team behind this play and couple of our Italian volunteers. As the play progressed Sashi introduced to runners about Ananya and how they can help and be part of Ananya.

Dance, Dance , Dance

No that's not the Mithun da's movie but our very own Ananya kids dancing to beats of "Pappu Can't Dance", "Beat it" and "Jai Ho".

MJ would have been proud to see the kids when they jammed for "Beat It".

Our DJ for the day was Shashi and her car was used to play the music.

Volleyball, and Team Asha Wins

And we had a volleyball match with the kids and finally Team Asha won over the kids for the first time in six months (of course our team also had big players from Ananya) but we lost the next match.

But we had a great match and we had Deepak, our guest runner from Runner's high who played with us apart from the regular Team Asha gang.

Treasure Hunt

It was already 11AM and kids were getting ready for their next event. Treasure hunt organized by the Italian Volunteers. Guess only Santhosh was left to hunt for the treasure.

All in all a very nice day and event-filled day. Thanks to all runners from Team Asha and Runner's High.

Come Run with us.

Team Asha !

More Pics in here:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Season Runs: Start At Ananya

So the running season for the year 2009-10 started off last month and as part of the training program, Team Asha Bangalore will conduct runs at each of its supported programs so that the volunteers, trainers, runners and the kids can all interact with each other.

Kick start At Ananya

So the first run-at-the-site took off at Ananya today. Other than the regular Asha Runners none turned up for the run (Rains? Where?). But it was business as usual for all of us.

Weather Dither
What a lovely weather and we were in no mood to run or practice Karate. After quite a few dilly dallying we all took off for the run at around 7.20AM. Most of the kids did a neat 3KM and others went on to do a 5KM.

As the drizzle was bearable we all went in for our stretching session and then started our Karate session.

Beat the Weather

As we started our training for Karate session Vinodh, Narmada and I donned the "sesnsei" role as Manjula was away.

As the drizzle started to gather momentum we wound up one batch. But Vinodh stood between the weather and the class. After a quick vote with kids he decided to go on and surprisingly he already got them on even heels over the first Kata (Fukyugata Ichi). Good job pal !

The Breakfast

Lets give you a small tour inside Shivamma's kitchen from where those Idlies come flying to our plates melange'd over chutney and sambhar.

Soon our trainers from "Runner's High" joined us with couple of guests over breakfast. Post breakfast some of us played volleyball and football(soccer).


From this Saturday most of us would be staying back further till noon and introduce things like computers and mathematics to kids in an interesting way so that its not a burden on them and they would rather relish it.

Today we started our effort by first cleaning up all the viruses that have infected the computers at Ananya. But as we were running on UPS because of power outage we could restrict ourselves only to a couple of computers. One of the senior students was taught on how to do it on couple of machines so that he can finish the basic tasks by next Saturday.

Then we slowly started the kids to involve in a discussion on what are computers, what they can do, why does a keyboard look different, the shift key in the keyboard and many others.

We wanted to show the kids their pics for a long time and finally we managed to show them their pics today.

Taking granted on Basic assumptions

Santhosh had asked kids some basic questions like why does a mathematics compass can measure only 360 degrees (why not 400?). Also things like why the clock has just 12 hours (why not 20?) and things such as these as a kids (and even as an adult) we have never questioned the basic premise. This is what most of us would want to defy and really get into the root of things.

The whole idea to "question" is what we are looking at. Getting this inquisitiveness will be one of our top priorities. Vinodh has more interesting ideas on science and maths and he would start sharing as we move ahead.

Finally I took all the time on earth, had my lunch at Ananya and then left !

Some pictures in here:

Go Team Asha and Ananya, Go !

Saturday, July 4, 2009

White to Yellow with empty hands: Team Asha and Ananya

So what else Team Asha in Bangalore does other running and volunteering. This may sound trivial and off running topic for some but then this was more than a saga for all of us. Read on below !

"The ultimate aim of the art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the characters of its participants."
- Gichin Funakoshi

Two months ago when we met our master at Ananya, we had no idea that she would be our bellwether guiding us using her "empty hands". Karate as a form of personal strength and to gain extra control over oneself was one of the sole motivation.

It all began at our "Dojo" (school) at Ananya this summer when we were training with kids for the Sunfeast 10K and during one of our breakfast discussions the idea of "Karate" cropped in as a cross training from a photographer who was capturing us at the volleyball matches with the kids. Who knew that she would become our Sensei who would lead all of us into this odyssey which seems like a journey in progress now.

We asked her, "onegaishimasu Sensei", Please teach me/us and that is how it all began. Tuesdays and Saturdays after the run we all diligently went through classes and practiced extensively during the last two weeks.

Today as America celebrated its independence we headed towards the first step, the Yellow Belt and all of us came out in flying colors.

What are you waiting for? You're faster than this. Don't think you are, know you are. Come on. Stop trying to hit me and hit me.
--Morpheus, The Matrix

This is what was that was going through during the endurance tests in all our minds. Our Morpheous was Sensei Manjula under whom we've trained for the last two months. We could hear her chip in when we were about to give up during the endurance training and it was then that she occurred to us like Morpheous.

Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle. In short, enter a mold without being caged in it. Obey the principle without being bound by it. LEARN, MASTER AND ACHIEVE!!!

-- Bruce Lee

This just a baby step that we all have taken and I'm sure there is a long way to go as Team Asha and Team Ananya. We have more kids taking active part with Karate and Tuesday from now on we will be doing Karate exclusively. Of course Saturdays after the run we will continue with it as well.

Aregato to Sensei Manjula, Sensei Rani and my training mates Vinodh, Narmada and Banna !
Thanks to George, Suman and Shivamma for a wonderful breakfast and lunch. Ananya is more than a home to all of us.

I'll finally end it with an anonymous quote below:

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”

(Pic Courtesy: Sensei Manjula)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Team Asha 8k Run, 2009 - Train, Run and Educate

One Team, One Dream

(Just at the start of the run)

All the runners came under one umbrella, Team Asha, for one dream, "Bringing Hope Through Education". A sea of runners vroomed passed the trails across Valley School campus as they gave those calm resting legs a rhythm.

We had kids from Valley school, Ananya, Thulir and Parikriya apart from the regular runners who took part with immense zeal and ardour.

Why Run with us ?

(Come, run with us)

If you are not running with us, you are missing something. No, we are not going to sound cliched but you should run with us as a Team or individual to know what it is to be like Team Asha.

Team Asha has grown in number and participation in the last couple of years in Bangalore and we have been thriving our best to support projects at Asha to the best of our abilities, both by running and through volunteering. You must attend our info sessions to know more about our training program and Asha's intiatives here in Bangalore and around.

The Trail

(Asha Running couple on their way)

The trail was a mixture of pebble strewn tar road and muddy trail.

Valley school is located at a very scenic location just 20 odd KMs from Bangalore and spread across a sprawling serene campus. What makes this trail tough and terrific is its hilly nature. There were enough uphills and downhills to keep all the runners busy panting and relaxing at the same time. We call it Pleasured Pain !

The entire distance was 8K split into two loops of 4K each. We marked all the trails by early in the morning with interesting comments and color codes. Most part of the trail was well shaded.

The Run

(Sea of runners above)

After trying to squeeze in every runner we began the run at quarter past nine (9:15AM) and the kids took the center stage and were all set.

The Race ?

(Enjoying the Run)

Though the whole idea behind the run was an implicit race. But as we pondered upon it we realized that it is the team spirit that needs to be promoted and race was just another dimension to it.

The whole idea of running together as a relay is to get your running partner feel good and the idea here was not your speed but the camaraderie you show to your running mate thereby completing the distance. Completion being the key, constrained with your limitations and that extra push you get from your partner and other running folks promoting a mutual goodwill among the runners.

During the Run

(Scenic trail and a wonderful couple)

We had many non-runners, who graduated today as runners. We don't distinguish much between a runner or a jogger or a walker. Simply put, you are a runner !

The best part is that almost everyone enjoyed being a part of this whole festival, a running festival working towards a common goal for Asha.

(The Father and daughter running pair)

We had people from the very the young to the old, the birders, the barefoot runners, the jolly-jolly runners and many more.

(Hip Hip Hooray ! Go runner Keep going !)

We also had great cheering support, thanks to the Valley school and its Fraternity. Some Team Asha veterans mingled in the group cheering and encouraging runners.

Eco Effect
We had steel tumblers in the water stops with bananas and glucose biscuits. We wanted to create as little impact to the environment and I guess we did that successfully.

Keeping in view of the surroundings and step towards environmental friendly runs. One of the Team Asha member's verbatim:

The water stalls were really refreshing to see. In any other event there would be so much wastage but here with the tin cups there was none. A model for other races to follow

Post Run

(The Registration and Goodie desk)

As the runners finished their respective distances they moved towards the Registration desk to collect their Tees. All the runners who participated got a Tee shirt and Tsunamikas as goodies.

That was their certificate ! You all deserved it.

We had herbal tea, black and and normal Tea also arranged for all of us and it was very refreshing.

Vote of Thanks

Thanks to Valley School for encouraging and letting us use their wonderful serene campus for all of us to be part of.

Thanks to Rajashekar group of hospitals for their medical help and ambulance facility with their doctors and paramedics.

Thanks to Sathya Dyeing for the Tee shirts from Thirpur (Tamil Nadu).

Thanks to Printo for the Tee shirt and bib number printing.

Thanks to Runner's High for their logistics and coordination for this event.

Last but not the least, to all the runners who took part with all enthusiasm and gusto.

(Team Asha folks during the run !)

Also, thanks to all the volunteers from Valley school and Asha:

Running with Team Asha is contagious, you catch a running flu

So if you want to train, run and educate, then come join us. Just drop us a comment here or mail us anytime, we will make sure you catch the Running Flu !

More about Asha Training Marathon program here:

Contact Team Asha for training, mentors or webmaster:
anita [DOT] komanduri [AT] gmail [DOT] com

('End' refers to 'End of Illiteracy')

Go Team Asha, Go !

More pics in here:

Media Bytes:

Citizen Matters, from Manjula Sridhar.

Train, Run and Educate !